Soldering is without a doubt one of the most useful skills to have when working with electronics. Considering how much we're dependent on electronic gadgets today, the ability to solder is something everyone can use. To get started, you need an understanding of how the different components of a soldering kit work. Always observe safety precautions when soldering to protect yourself from injuries.
In this article, we'll give you a rundown of the tools required to begin soldering, and go over five of the best electronics soldering projects for beginners.
Basic Soldering Tools
To get started with electronic soldering, you'll need a few basic tools.
Soldering Gun or Iron
A soldering gun or iron is the most crucial element. Luckily, it doesn't have to be expensive. As of this writing, there are plenty of starter models available for under $10.
A solder wire is the medium used to connect the different components of electronics. These are often made of pure tin, but several different alloys can do the trick, too. It's very crucial that you select the right solder wire for the current you'll be using, since different metals have different melting points.
You need a wire cutter when soldering to trim off the legs of long electronic components or cut long wires. Fortunately, wire cutters are very cheap—as of this writing you can find them online for a minimum of around $3.
A soldering mat protects your desk from damage during the process. Most soldering mats also have compartments in which you can put tiny components of electronic gadgets such as screws and bolts to prevent them from getting lost while you are working.
A tip tinner allows you to clean the tip of your soldering iron and remove residue. This helps prevent oxidation and prolongs the lifespan of your tips.
Now that we have outlined the necessary tools for soldering, let's look at some beginner soldering projects that you can start with if you're new to the game.
1. Sweethearts Flashing LED
This is one of the simplest projects to begin with if you are just starting out. You'll need to solder in the nine resistors and two capacitors that come with the kit. Ensure the capacitors are set up correctly before soldering them, and make sure you don't overheat the joints when soldering to avoid damaging the pads and motherboard. Once all the components are carefully fitted in place, connect a 9 volt power supply to power the LED.
2. 3D X-mas Tree
Assembling a 3D X-mas tree is a relatively simple project you can accomplish in a matter of minutes once the capacitors are fitted correctly. With some kits, the battery clips come pre-installed on the motherboard so you won’t need to conduct any wiring. The kit doesn’t come with a battery, though, so you'll have to purchase one to power the mini electronic tree.
3. IR Remote Tester kit
Unlike the other projects that we have discussed thus far, this one actually has a practical application. To solder the IR remote tester, ensure that the transistors and capacitors are properly set up. Once you have soldered them in place, position an IR remote control near the sensor and press the on/off button to switch on the LED.
4. FM Radio Kit
This project also offers a practical application—you'll end up with a functioning radio, as long as you solder all the components on the motherboard correctly. You should note, however, that this kit has a lot more components, and will therefore require you to pay more attention when soldering in order to not damage any of the parts of the motherboard.
5. MintyBoost Kit
A MintyBoost kit has far less components than any of the other projects we have discussed so far, while also being highly practical. With this project,you can create a DIY phone charger for your phone in a matter of minutes! The MintyBoost kit is very convenient to have in your car since you can find the required AA batteries in most gas or service stations.
Safety Tips When Soldering
It's always important to take precautions when dealing with high heats and electric voltage. Always use tweezers or clamps (not fingers) when holding wires to be heated. Always return the soldering iron to its holder and unplug when not in use. Most importantly, never touch the tip of the soldering iron with your hands when it's working.
Making something cool with your newfound soldering superpowers? Share it with the world on our DIY projects pages!